The End Of The Beginning
Great and Mighty God, today I rejoice in Your Word—so complex and yet so simple.
Read Genesis 11:1–32
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“How good is the God we adore, / our faithful, unchangeable Friend! / His love is as great as his power, / and knows neither measure nor end!” (Joseph Hart, 1712–1768).
Sometimes when we meet new people, knowing something about their background makes it much easier to understand them and hence to relate to them. Most of us have heard people say to us something on the lines of “I hadn’t realized you had visited x, were related to y, or had experienced z; that explains why you do (or do not) understand my situation.” Genesis 11 ends this introduction to the world into which Abraham and his descendants were born. We have been told of the wonders of the original creation, the entry of sin and disobedience and the disruption to life and relationship that it caused. We have read of the increasing corruption and of God’s decision to wipe out the population and start again with Noah’s family. We know that human beings remain sinful but that, while the earth exists, a complete wiping out will not happen again, and we know that all nations are related, all part of God’s creation. Every tribe is known and of concern to God. It is as if the writer now considers what else readers need to know before the history of Israel begins in earnest. The writer decides that we need to know why the nations are spread across the world speaking different languages, and we need to know a little more about the background to Abraham’s immediate family. The Babel story warns us about the dangers of human arrogance. Our technology may be much more advanced than that of the early people who had learned to use bricks and bitumen, and we may know much more about the stars, but thinking that we can build an edifice “that reaches to the heavens” (4) remains a foolish and dangerous dream. The writer, with deliberate irony, tells us that God “came down” to their high-reaching tower (5)!
What do people need to know in order to understand you? Do you know such things about difficult people around you?
Sovereign Lord, my heart is stirred anew when I realize once again Your love for all peoples. Show me new ways I can serve the worldwide mission of the church.